ANWR resolution headed to D. C. from Alaska Legislature
KINY, March 29, 2021
The State Senate Monday approved a House resolution calling on the federal government to honor recent lease sales and proceed with permitting in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
House Joint Resolution was advanced to third and final reading on the same day and was approved on a vote of 13 to 2.
The resolution will now be sent to the nation’s capital.
Is Natural Gas Still A Safe Bet For Oil Majors?
Tsvetana Paraskova, OilPrice.Com, March 29, 2021
Increased scrutiny over the environmental impact of natural gas—a key source of methane, which is a much more harmful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide—has some industry analysts questioning the long-term prospects of global gas demand in the energy transition.
Big Oil has bet big on natural gas developments in the past decade, expecting incessant growth in demand for decades to come. Today, the majors continue to expect solid demand for natural gas, justifying investments in more production.
But investors and buyers of natural gas have started to fret over the emissions impact of the fuel.
This could create risks for the biggest oil and gas corporations, including Shell, Total, and ExxonMobil, according to Sarah McFarlane of The Wall Street Journal.
Those three supermajors and many other oil and gas companies have bet big on growing their natural gas divisions to meet what they see as continued growth in global gas demand.
The net-zero and energy transition narrative, however, has changed the overall narrative in the gas industry—buyers want net-zero cargoes, while producers and sellers pledge carbon capture and reduction of methane emissions.
Natural gas demand will continue to grow in the coming years, after fully recouping this year the losses from the 2020 pandemic shock, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said earlier this year.
Asia is set to continue leading that growth, while many Western markets, including the European Union (EU), will start to pay more attention to the environmental credentials of natural gas.
Once in a century opportunity for Alaska
Shane Lasley, North of 60 Mining News, March 25, 2021
From a world-class graphite deposit in the Northwest to rare earths on the Southeast Panhandle, Alaska has the potential to offer a sustainable and secure supply to meet the coming explosive demand for the minerals and metals crucial to the renewable energy and electric vehicle sectors in North America and around the globe.
International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, estimates that this shift to low-carbon energy and electric mobility will create nearly $23 trillion in market opportunities over the next decade alone.
The window is small, however, for Alaska to leverage its vast mineral wealth to fully take advantage of this one-in-a-century retrofit of global energy and transportation infrastructure.
“There are moments in history when everything changes. Inflection points. We believe such a point is upon us for the mass adoption of electric vehicles,” General Motors Global Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl said in January. “Unlike ever before, we have the solutions, capability, technology and scale to put everyone in an EV.”
Toward this end, GM has committed to investing $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle products over the next five years and plans to have 30 new EV models on showroom floors by the end of 2025.
Volkswagen, considered the frontrunner for overtaking Tesla when it comes to EV production, recently placed an order for $14 billion worth of batteries and plans to build six giga-scale battery facilities in Europe to help power the roughly 26 million electric cars over that span.
In addition to Tesla’s success in its push to make EVs mainstream, aggressive government climate policies are playing a large role in nearly every major automaker pushing to transition their vehicle production to mostly or entirely electric in the next 10 to 15 years.
In a move that was hailed as a win by every segment of the American clean energy supply chain – from mining companies positioned to feed rare earths and battery metals into the front end to the automotive giants that will need enormous new supplies of those critical minerals to manufacture a new generation of electric mobility – President Joe Biden signed an executive order that instructs federal agencies to investigate what needs to ensure a strong and reliable supply of the materials to the lower carbon energy future envisioned.
“Resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains are going to help revitalize our domestic manufacturing capacity and create good-paying jobs,” Biden said before signing the “Executive order on America’s Supply Chains” on Feb. 24.
The aggressive global push for electric mobility and the renewable energy and charging infrastructure needed to fill EV “tanks” with low-carbon electricity will require a massive amount of new metal supplies.
Alaska hosts vast potential for battery materials such as cobalt, graphite, nickel, and vanadium; renewable energy ingredients such as germanium, rare earths, rhenium, silver, and tellurium; as well as the copper and zinc that will be needed in vast quantities in this transition.
Alaska judge dismisses two election-tampering charges against former state legislator
James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, March 30, 2021
A state judge has ordered the dismissal of two election-tampering charges against former state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage. LeDoux still faces eight other charges, including one felony.
A year ago, the state charged LeDoux and two associates with violating state law during LeDoux’s 2018 and 2014 campaigns for the Alaska Legislature.
In January, Judge Michael Franciosi issued an order dismissing two misdemeanor charges that applied to the 2014 campaign. That order, which has not been previously reported, said the state filed its case too late to bring charges against LeDoux.
LeDoux declined to comment Monday.
The other eight charges relate to the 2018 election and are timely. Attorney Kevin Fitzgerald is representing LeDoux and said he believes she will not be convicted.
“I think government has got to be really hard-pressed to convict her of anything,” he said.
He said he believes that based on the available record and what he says is a lack of evidence.
The remaining charges allege LeDoux and two other people — who have also been charged — encouraged ineligible voters to vote for LeDoux in the 2018 Republican primary election.
LeDoux lost her reelection campaign in 2020 and is now out of the Legislature. She was one of five Republicans in the state House who were defeated in the Republican primary.
The former legislator has not yet appeared in court, in part because the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed most courtroom activity. Fitzgerald speculated that a trial will take place no earlier than this fall but said his client is interested in a speedy result.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
ECONOMISTS INCREASINGLY CONCERNED ABOUT CLIMATE RISKS: An overwhelming majority of economists working on climate change believe immediate action to curb emissions is necessary (74%) and that climate change is likely to negatively affect global economic growth rates (76%), according to a new survey of more than 700 economists released this morning by the Institute for Policy Integrity.
Peter Howard, the institute’s economics director and lead author on the survey, said the growing concern from economists demonstrates how important it is for the Biden administration to increase the social cost of carbon, a metric used to tally the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The White House unveiled an interim value last month, returning to the Obama administration’s value of $51 per ton, but Biden has ordered officials to update the final value by next year.
Howard pointed to the massive projected damages the surveyed economists fear could result from climate change. According to the survey, economists projected damages could reach $1.7 trillion per year by 2025 and $30 trillion per year by 2075 if emissions aren’t reduced.
“That is really a strong indication that there should be serious concern,” Howard told Abby. He added that the models the government uses to calculate the social cost of carbon are known to “have outdated estimates” and don’t model some of the damages from climate change effects.